Interview with Major Nzeogwu


 nzeogwu

Another nugget from Nigerian history.  This is the text of Major Chukwuma Kaduna Nzeogwu’s famous interview with Dennis Ejindu in May 1967.  This interview took place just before the start of the civil war.  It is probably the most detailed question and answer session with Major Nzeogwu.  Enjoy….

Ejindu: I am glad to meet you, Sir. How would you feel if you knew that you are being regarded as a hero?  

Nzeogwu: Very pleased naturally. But the truth is that I am not a hero. If there was any famous Major Nzeogwu, I have never heard of him.

Ejindu: It is rumoured that you have just finished writing a book, what is it like?

Nzeogwu: Good gracious! Ninety-nine per cent of all the stories you hear in this country are false. I have not written any book because there was nothing to write about. You can only write about a finished job. It would have been a useful means of warding off boredom though, but one did not do it for the fear that the authorities might seize the papers. However I had enough time to make detailed notes on what happened, and one might use them if in future there was any need to write something.  

Ejindu: Before you went into prison, the cloud was so clear above this country that one could see very far into the future. Now that you are out, what do you see?  

Nzeogwu: A job very badly done. If I may borrow your metaphor, the atmosphere is admittedly somewhat cloudy. But I don’t think there will be rain. Indeed if you look steadily up you will find that the sun is not yet set and might still peep through. The trouble is that people generally can’t tell which is a rain cloud and which is not, and as a result they tend to be confused. As you know there is too much bitterness at present in the country, and in the past people had imagined that they could conveniently do without one another. But the bitterness will clear in the end and they will find that they are not as self-reliant as they had thought. And they will long to be together…. The .same applies to the Northerners. It may take ten or fifteen years for them to come together again but there is no doubt, as far as I can see, that they will. You see, in this world of imperfection, it is sometimes very difficult to capture the ideal. But we can, at least start with the second best.  

Ejindu: What is the second best?  

Nzeogwu: A Confederation.  

Ejindu: Before I come back to that, may 1 take you back to January, 1966. What exactly happened at Nassarawa (the premier’s residence at Kaduna) on the night of the 14th?

Nzeogwu: No, no, no; don’t ask me anything about that, I don’t want to remember it.

Ejindu: All right. A lot has been talked and written about the January coup. But how tribalistic was it really in conception and execution?  

Nzeogwu: In the North, no. In the South, yes. We were five in number, and initially we knew quite clearly what we wanted to do. We had a short list of people who were either undesirable for the future progress of the country or who by their positions at the time had to be sacrificed for peace and stability. Tribal considerations were completely out of our minds at this stage. But we had a set-back in the execution. Both of us in the North did our best. But the other three who were stationed in the South failed because of incompetence and misguided considerations in the eleventh hour. The most senior among them was in charge of a whole brigade and had all the excuse and opportunity in the world to mobilize his troops anywhere, anyhow and any time. He did it badly. In Lagos, even allowing for one or two genuine mistakes, the job was badly done. The Mid-West was never a big problem. But in the East, our major target, nothing practically was done. He and the others let us down.  

Ejindu: You must have anticipated that Gen. Ironsi would let you down in the end. Why did you surrender to him the way you did?  

Nzeogwu: I was being sensible. The last thing we desired was unnecessary waste of life. If I had stuck to my guns there would have been a civil war, and as the official head of the Army, he would have split the loyalty of my men. Again, you must remember that the British and other foreigners were standing by to help him. Our purpose was to change our country and make it a place we could be proud to call our home, not to wage war.

Ejindu: It has been said that Gen. Ironsi set out to complete your job for you. Was there anything you did not like in his administration?  

Nzeogwu: Yes, everything. First he chose the wrong advisers for the work he halfheartedly set out to do. Most of them were either mediocre or absolutely unintelligent. Secondly, he was tribalistic in the appointment of his governors. Thirdly the Decree 34 was unnecessary, even silly in fact.

Ejindu: But you wanted a unitary government?  

Nzeogwu: No. Not a unitary government as such. We wanted to see a strong centre. We wanted to cut the country to small pieces, making the centre inevitably strong. We did not want to toy with power, which was what he did.  

Ejindu: Tell me, what do you think of him as a soldier?  

Nzeogwu: I am afraid I cannot tell you that. But I will say that as a person he was very well liked and as the Supreme Commander, his orders were promptly carried out.

Ejindu: If he joined the Army as a gunner, he must have progressed as a military strategist?  

Nzeogwu: Yes, if he had, he could have done so. But he actually joined the Army as a tally-clerk and was a clerk most of the time.

Ejindu: From the present chaos, what type of Nigeria do you envisage?  

Nzeogwu: In the first place, secession will be ill-advised, indeed impossible. Even if the East fights a war of secession and wins, it still cannot secede. Personally, I don’t like secession and if this country disintegrates, I shall pack up my things and go. In the present circumstances, confederation is the best answer as a temporary measure. In time, we shall have complete unity. Give this country a confederation and, believe me, in ten or fifteen years the young men will find it intolerable, and will get together to change it. And it is obvious we shall get a confederation or something near it. Nothing will stop that.  

Ejindu: Do you think there will be any war?  

Nzeogwu: No. Nobody wants to fight. The East which is best equipped and best prepared for war, does not want to attack anybody. The North cannot fight. And Lagos cannot fight now. If they had attacked the East in August or September, they would have had a walk-over. Today, I think they will be ill-advised to try.  

Ejindu: An Englishman said to me the other day that the best thing Ojukwu can do is to take over Lagos. Do you think he can do it even if he wanted to?  

Nzeogwu: Yes, I think the East is strong enough to do it if they want to. But it will serve no useful purpose. It can only serve to destroy life and property. You see, the effective power does not lie in Lagos but in Kaduna, and if you remove Gowon somebody else will take his place. If you capture the South against the North, all you can achieve is civil war, disintegration and border clashes.

Ejindu: Finally, let me come to the controversy over your release.  Much as it has been a popular action you have been released by the east government against the wish of the federal government.  What do you say to that?

Nzeogwu: All I can say is that I am happy and grateful to be out.  We feel grateful to the Nsukka students for their persistent demand, and to the boys in the barracks for their pressure on the authorities in the east. And to the Nigerian public in general for their concern over our welfare.

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91 responses

  1. It’s unfortunate that major Nzeogwu underestimated the might of the westerners, tha probably resulted in the disastrious venture of seccession of the East. It’s not about conquering and defeat, it’s about mutual respect and the fact that nobody is superior to the other.

    1. I did not believe that Nzeogwu underestimated the mighty of the western Nigeria, but he was naive. He strongly in Nigeria as a country but he was sold out by the same people was fighting to protect. Today, the westerners and northerners have been ruling Nigeria since after the civil war but they still cry about been underdeveloped. The easterners will survive with the help of government all we need is a government policy the is fair to all.

  2. Brief but revealing insight into the mind of
    the man, the myth, the legend that is Kaduna Nzeogwu.
    This shows him to be a true and unequivocal Nigerian patriot.
    This tiny glimpse into his thoughts shows a man of vision and purpose.
    A man of principle, character,strong ideals, integrity and
    undaunted courage.
    Had he been in charge of the Lagos operations on the night of
    Jan.15 ’66, the course of Nigeria’s and Africa’s history
    would have been forever altered.

    1. True. The whole tribal label given to the first coup resulted from the “misguided considerations” that led to its poor execution by Major Ifeajuna and co in the southern sector. It is obvious that Maj. Nzeogwu was too trustful of his co-coupers and did not really know that many of them had some personal/tribal agenda which was quite inconsistent with the objective of the coup. One gets the impression that he may have been misled to partake in a game that he had no control. I still have great respect for his patriotic belief. He’s a true Nigerian.

      1. Felix u are too much

  3. Well if Maj Nzeogwu had led the Lagos operations and succeeded, there is no way to know whether Maj Ifeajuna, Okafor et al might not have similarly bungled the coup in other regions. Did they really have the stomach for a fight with the GOC Ironsi?

  4. DEJI Ajose-Ojikutu | Reply

    Another important part of our history!!!

    1. i am shout of words becos of the the leaders of the country control our resorces well major chukwuma patrick kaduna nzeogwu was my hero i love him a lot i have not come to life when he but some thing i read about him i almost join the military becos of him to continew where he stoped

  5. Revealing. I know not of any Nigerian Military personnel whose picture and name command such enormous respect.Major Nzeogwu Kaduna, is truly a hero even in death.

  6. Nzeogwu is very famous among his five coup plotters simply because he silenced Sir, Ahmadu Bello (the nothern region governor),offcourse the most decorated traditional ruler in the country as at that time and the Godfather of the nothern hemisphere.
    Nzeogwu and his colleagues intention was to take over the goverment, that is why they started killing both top civillians and the top millitary officers to make way for them to elevate themselves otherwise I didn’t saw the reason why they should have killed their most superiors in the millitary while the civillians were in power.
    Again that is not even the easiest way to look for peace as at that time. If their superiors could had join them in this coup there would have be fewer or no bloodshed talkless of stupid and dumb revenge coup of july 1966 that took life of innocent soldiers and civillians which led to the civil war between 1967 to 1970. Since 1966 till today things are even getting worst beyond what courses the first coup and civil war. We have witnessed too many coups that opposed the government in power and at the end the new goverment would also did the worst than the government they overthrew.
    Nzeogwu and his group claims that they wanted to released Awolowo from the prison and install ed him as the Prime minister, which Gowon later accomplished and Awo became the federal finance minister, still nothing changes, Nigerian government still got worst till today.
    The notherners wanted to exterminate the IBO’s because of Nzeogwu and ifeajuna coup.
    Ironsi refuses to courtmarshal Nzeogwu and his coe-coup plotters which notherners claimed to be upseted about that lead to the revenge coup of july, 1966 which brought Gowon to power.
    The same Gowon (A notherner) praised Nzeogwu and gave him a befiting burial after his death, even Obasanjo called him a heroe in his book for organizing the first bloody coup.
    Nigeria is not showing us how to differentiate evil from good because anything can go due to tribal hatred. People who kept good legacy has been dumped, and blood thirst’s and undesireable elements are been decorated. Those who fought for the independece are dumped because they did not stole a whole lot of money from the government or plan a coup to become a heroe.
    Nzeogwu is a strong,smart and greedy soldier who did “The wrong thing at the right time”.

    1. if u want to write, always remember that history cannot be re-written. At no time did Nzeogwu and his men said they wanted to install awolowo as the prime minister. Besides, assuming ur statement was true,on what basis would u compare d effectiveness of just a federal minister to a prime minister?
      on d allaegation of tribalism, yoruba and some non ibos were part of the plot yet akintola, okotie boh were killed. does it make sense?
      finally u said that d failure of Ironsi to execute the jan 15 1966 coup plotters was responsible for the killing of the ibos in the north. Remember that Ojukwu went back on his words not to punish any of the plotters, a statement he made public by imprison all of them. But help me answer these puzzles. Why did Gowon fail to punish the plotters of july 1966 despite did ethnic lopsidedness of their action? why did Muritala fail to punish those that plotted again Gowon? yet hell was not loose in the south

    2. Next time, can you please type your comment in English that people can understand and make sense of. The grammatical errors in your comment makes it senseless.

  7. SORRY MR. MAX, NUMBER SIXTH COMENT HERE ABOUT MAJ. NZEOGWU WAS WRITTEN BY CHARLES KING AND NOT ANONYMOUS. PROBABLY I FORGOT TO WRITE MY NAME BEFORE I POSTED THE COMENT.
    THANK YOU MAXSIOLLUN FOR FEEDING US WITH ALL THESE UNFORGETIBLE EVENTS OF OUR TIME.

  8. Major Nzeogwu was a very intelligent and brave soldier that meant the good of the nation but had some wrong and sentimental minded persons with him that resulted to the failure of the coup. In summary to 1966 coup, anywhere we find ourselves, we should not introduce sentiment into professionalism.

  9. I dont know how a man that deposed an elected government thus dividing a country along tribal lines, a man who set the footing for a series of coups that left a country in chaos and its citizen impoverished by greedy, indisciplined military regimes can be called a national hero. WHAT IS WRONG WITH US???!!!

    1. Teya, I dont think you understand what the so called elected government did,that prompted Major Kaduna Nzeogwu deposed them. Nigeria leaders at that time, have the reputation of being notoriously corrupted and ineffective leaders whose failures layed at the heart of government that failured to take effective action against impunity. Political corruptions were the order of day, Misuse of government power for other purposes, such as repression of political opponents and general using brutality,to supressed those who challanged them.

      All forms of government are susceptible to political corruption. Forms of corruption vary, but include bribery, extortion, cronyism, nepotism, patronage, graft, Kickback, and embezzlment.

      Corruption of all forms are rampant and were good enough to deposed the so called nigerian leaders by Nzeogwu. I wish we have another hero like Nzeogwu who will kill all of the leaders in nigeria today because they have taking Nigeria people backward.

      1. Then Leonard, you’re a fool and an idiot. Kill everyone and see what happens. But then may be th killings should start with you. Knuckle head.

        1. Can we please try to maintain decorum with comments., and refrain from name calling and insults.

      2. The corruption excuse if taken justify the coup and derailing of a transition to democracy and peace.They blew it simple.NZeogu or what ever destroyed Nigeria and rubbioshed the nation Imagine him saying the north and west were no match for his ethnocentric though out strategy.Now who is laughing?Who are the losers?Actions speak louder than words.

        1. U are a fool,if u dnt kn the history u shut up,if nt 4dengland ,russia,cameroon,&the north africans,can the north&west stand the east?It even take them 3yrs

    2. Mumu,u cn never get d drift of d whole thing

    3. Teya, I agree. How this man is perceived as a hero and a patriot is utterly senseless. People deifying Nzeogwu as though he were the African version of Alexander, Charlemagne, or Napolean (and to be honest, I don’t necessarily think as highly of these men as history does). I realize we are utterly mad in Nigeria. We are deeply submerged in a type of lunacy that only be described as tragic. One can tell a lot about a nation or a set of people by the those hold high as their heroes. Noone should be surprised at the state of this amalgamation of chaos ridiculousness we call a country, especially when we hold naive, misinformed, thrill-seeking butchers as heroes. Goodluck with the Nigeria project…too bad Goodluck is already there but nothing is changing.

      1. Your statement is grossly unco-odinated and it is clear u speak out of envy owing to the fact that your region of origin have never and can never produce a man with NZEOGU’S capacity,that is why u r still very backward in all ramifications, sorry.

  10. Infact am feeling very bad for the death of my galant Lovely brother.May his gentle soul rest in perfect piece.

    Major Chukwuma Kaduna Nzogwu,I love till next world,may your brave spirit lead you to heaven,the labour you work in this country will never be in vain.

    I still love you,there is know body that will perform like you,in this world.

  11. what roll do nzeogwu perform in Nigeria as an hero

  12. late Major Chukwuma Nzeogwu was one of the brave man that perform a serious act during the 1967 war in Nigeria,
    My prosperous aim is that I due neglect his death.

    1. ??????????????????????

  13. Nzeogwu was a very intelligent man with enough tact to be a good Nigerian laeder. He came far before his time and his colleagues let him and the course he gave his all down. If there would another Nzeogwu he certainly would no ahve been quite naive trusting some of his colleagues as Nzeogwu did in the operation down south. Nzrogwu remains one of the unsettled issues of our nationhood. What are his motivations? How did he accomplished his task? To what extent was he betrayed that even his former friends see him as capable of dimming their own lights? Who is indeed Major Chuwuma Kaduna Nzeogwu? What are his contributions to the post independent Nigeria? These are the task that Nigeria bears, and would bear for a long while

  14. what really happened on the nights of jan 14 and 28th 1966, we may never know.
    maybe its safer to say that the truth died with those involved

  15. Nigeria lost a golden opportunity to be great when Nzeogwu’s coup failed…AM SORRY NO MORE HOPE for Nigeria!

    1. I strongly believe that they are still many major Nzeogwu in Nigeria that can continue the struggle but not necessarily taking up arms.God bless Nigeria.

  16. He is a man that inspires curiousity in all nigerians. He made his mark. We are working on a movie to celebrate Kaduna Nzeogwu. Watch out for it. Mail me @ chukswriter@yahoo.com for details.

  17. The coup in 1966 is still a mistery to this day. I respected Major Nzeogwu has a sardust trained soldier. He was brought in the coup by Major Ifejuna. Major Nzeogwu did his part. but the rest especially in the east didnt do there part. People were killed which was sad. This coup was the begining of the civil war in Nigeria. Major Nzeogwu had good intentions but carried out the wrong way. I think this is was spurred the failed coup of Major Okafor in 1990. The 1966 coup was the one that set the stage for coup in west and east Africa.

  18. Fred, the 1990 coup included Major ORKAR, not “Okafor”. Nzeogwu/Ifeajuna’s coup in 1966 really did set the stage for subsequent coups and violence in Nigeria.

  19. Teslim, Nzeogwu AND the other plotters said Awo’s release was their objective.

    1. whatever is the motive(s) of the 1966 coup, i’m happy about it except that it shed lots of needless bloods

  20. For whatever reason, a coup cannot be justified because it is the will of a very small group compared to the larger population. It is no doubt that the first coup, which toppled a civilian regime, set the motion for others to follow. Every coupist has a personal agenda, not the interest of the nation.

    1. Indeed Malick. It started the cycle of coups and counter-coups.

    2. toochukwu henry | Reply

      Every polititian also has a personal agenda

  21. Major Kaduna Nzeogwu, what a man? what a soldier? what a patriot? the likes of him will never be seen again. Courage, Charisma, Intelligence not to mention good looks. I feel pity for my country Nigeria, infested with debauched criminals parading as leaders, political or otherwise. Nigeria is not a country but simply a deliberate plot by the British to divide and rule. The central theme running through this narrative that is Nigeria is Oil and the interest of the British in it. My fellow Nigerians our country is in perpetual decline, where heroes are needed unrepentant criminals keep re-emerging, where patriots are required feeble minded tribalists with larceny on their minds make an appearance and where leaders are called for, witness the long line of psychotic kleptomaniacs that cannot even run their own families. Nigeria is too complex, fractured along ethnic lines and with a large number of uneducated people that do not even know when they are being taken advantage of. the leadership qualities required to take on project Nigeria are simply not available in the cadre of candidates seeking this position. Major Nzeogwu may have to some extent seen the rot setting in. Nigeria of today is blight to his memory.

  22. Here was a patriot. If all men of his days were as patriotic and forward looking as he, then Nigeria would by now be an advanced nation.He loved this country almost to a fault and died for the masses of Nigeria.He was the Castro and Rawlings of his time but we betrayed him.History will continue to be kind to him.

  23. Well for the first time I finally get to hear the true thoughts of the Man Nzeogwu. He is truly the most stupid person I have ever ever heard about. I magine taking naive actions like killing rulers, leading your people to be killed in Pogroms and then turning around to tell them that seccession was ill adviced. Am wondering, If he had discussed his so called revolution with his tribal leaders like ZIK and Co, Igbo’s wou;d have had no reason to seccede. His is truly a northern she-ram. This is the man people call a hero, infact his comments show that he had plans to even kill the likes of Azikiwe.
    “He never gave thought to the tribal implications” what an idiot of the first order.

    1. toochukwu henry | Reply

      Obi or whateva your name is. I think your problem is dat u either lack education or your mind is clouded by sentiments. If you are sufficiently informed and it is obvious u aren’t, you will know that Nzeogwu had no tribal sentiments in mind from the outset. Ifeajuna from all indications tipped Azikiwe off which was pure unproffesional. Azikiwe was among the corrupt politicians and as such was supposed to go with the others(Ahmadu Bello, Tafawa Balewa & co). If Azikiwe was killed that night the northerners wouldn’t ve started a pogrom that eventually culminated into the civil war. So the man to blame should be Ifeajuna and not Nzeogwu who was and still remains the most proffesional and intelligent Nigerian army officer

  24. Major kadunna nzeogwu was a great patriot

    1. Shokolokobangoshay | Reply

      Comments regarding this matter had been pouring from southerners. Why is it that northerner do not discuss issues with southern nigerians? When we use our mind to explore issues, we find points where we connect. When we connect, harmony becomes likely.
      The logical summary is that Nzeogwu is not a heroe. He failed in the mission that could have earned him the title. You cannont win for losing.Because he failed, thieves lined up to execute coups after coups to steal from our treasury. We cannot blame Nzeogwu at the same time we lionize him for the same act.

      1. Generaly Notherners hate conversations in English language or other foreign languages no matter his/her education background even in the Government level both present and past Nothern Head of States were beign forced to speak English.

        1. That’s a gross oversimplification. If you don’t Northerners discussing on online forums, it’s more likely because many cannot afford the technology that enables one to engage in such online discussions, it’s not because of an intense loathing or hatred of the English language. I’m from the North, yet I find it much easier to articulate my thoughts in the English language rather my native tongue of Hausa.

          1. Ba na jin turenji aboki. Kin fatai mun magana turenji, ba zam ji.

        2. @ charlesking, I don’t think it is a good yardstick to judge the Northerners on why they don’t speak English or other languages except Hausa. First English is not the first foreign language that started in the North, secondly Hausa is widely spoken in Africa and many people feel comfortable speaking and easy learning of the language unlike others example Igbo which is the most difficult to speak on earth. Thirdly you probably never come across a northerner that share the same views with yours. And finally you can’t judge them on this forum because they are not partaking

    2. I recommend d authority of unizik that immortalaze nzeogwu by naming an hostal afta him

  25. From this interview, i have come to realise the personality of Major Kaduna Nzeogwu.He is not only a Brave Soldier but also a brilliant one.It is a pity he went too soon,he would have been very useful for a ‘revolution’.Nigeria needs a revolution that would bring an end to the present ‘polical quagmire’.A practical clue can be drown from our sister country,Ghana.

  26. Whenever I think of how Nigeria has turned out, weep for Nzeogwu and the others who put their lives on the line for this country. I ask myself, if Nzeogwu were alive today to see this, which is not 1/10 of what he witnessed that instigated the 1966 coup, he will weep. I have read most of the books about him and in none of them was he described as a bad person. In fact, Ademoyega, one of the five majors who alongside Nzeogwu planned the coup described him as having no ‘guile’; he truly was a great fellow. I hope he can be immortalized. If we have just 10 Nzeogwus in this country, Nigeria will be a better place.

  27. Kaduna Nzeogwu is the kind of person i could alligne with and appraise as a big hero irrepective of sentimental views from different quaters.I wish people like him could still exist among young nigerian soldiers of today as compare to the one that invest their gut and talent into killing of babys in Jos in the name of fucking ethnicity and religion not minding the level of poverty and brake down of infrastrutures in the society.If soldiers like him still exit,did you pple Tinubu,Atiku,IBB,Andy& chris uba and the likes of them that lead innocent nigerians to feed from the dust bin shld still be alive?Answer that with ur own conscience.I think i got love for his courage and his projected aim which nobody can prove to be wrong as he never get there but just said it.

  28. Kaduna n. Was a good man. H acted in the best intrest of the nation. This is wat sets him apart as a hero evn though coup might not have been d only weapon for settlement or resolution. He used wat was avaliable to him to act. N the most impotant thing is he acted against the corruption n injustice he saw in his enviroent. Before anyone critisizes this man again weigh urself against this evaluator, what actions hv u taken to better ur enviroment. Hw many people today can stand up against corruption n injustice. Let us celebrate nzeogwu for his zero tolerance of these two great evils. He has sel a pace even though we need not emulate his methods. But he sent a message with his life. STAND UP AGAINST CORRUPTION N INJUSTICE NIGERIA!!! Hw many are brve enough to stand up.

  29. though av read ds interview in d past,readin it again nw inspired new insights about ds man nzeogwu.Nzeogwu was an extraordinary soldier who meant v well 4 hs country.its a pity dat dose ills dat inspired d coup in d 1st place are stil v much evident,though at a much scandalous proportion,thus makin us d slumberin giant of africa..imagine wot nigeria wud av bn wit all our human n natural resources minus corruptn.God bless us all.

  30. nzeogwu, my hero. in failure u made us see that not all men are corrupt, GOD can still find one sincere man in sodom, a true patriot in gomorah…gomonaija. wake up and see them in the pdp, acn, cpc etc and the civil service, the men u described in ur speech have thrived. wake up major. wake up in the young people u have described in this interview. u are forty years late. wake up

  31. a true nigerian hero

  32. toochukwu henry | Reply

    Major Patrick Chukwuma Kaduna Nzeogwu soldier per exellent. This was the most intelligent officer of the Nigerian army that ever lived. A born leader of men. May your soul rest in peace. Amen

    1. Toochukwu Henry:This was the most intelligent officer of the Nigerian army that ever lived.
      >>>Far from the truth. Nzeogwu was a total failure and an impertinent ignoramus to boot. He accomplished squat and should have been shot sooner for his infantile solution to national issues.

      1. toochukwu henry | Reply

        That ‘Nzeogwu was a total failure’ is your personal opinion. As for the lt. gen Obiakor, no doubt he was a fine officer and gentleman but certainly not in the mould of Maj Nzeogwu. By the way what is your criteria 4 measuring success and failure? Am very sure that your opinion was informed more by what you were told you than what you read from intellectual materials.

      1. Thanks for the link. Lt-Gen Chikadibia Isaac Obiakor was an excellent officer. Shame he never got to command the army during his illustrious career.

  33. Debating about the intelligence of Nzeogwu is absolutely nonsense! The man was the most intelligent in Africa’s strategic history. It may sound jealousy if some crop of individuals across the nation talking blabs against a man whose tactical and acrobatic disposition is unique and impeccable in the whole black world. All we should do is to give him some credit rather than vituperating his unasuming character. May his gentle soul rest in perfect peace, AMEN!

  34. Nzeogwu’s tactical and strategic endowment was all Nigeria’s security outfits need to survive. Am proud of Nzeogwu! He tried only that he was disappointed by his timid colleagues. I give him military salutation ad-infinitum! Nzeogwu Chukwuma Patrick Kaduna, Rest in Peace!

    1. Lt-Gen Obiakor commanded peacekeeping missions, was one of the longest serving officers in the history of the NA, and served admirably as the adviser to the Un Secretary-General on peacekeeping. Major Nzeogwu’s claim to fame is participating in a military coup and murdering an unarmed civilian and his wife in the middle of the night.

  35. yomi daniel damilare | Reply

    if this truly MAJOR KADUNA NZEOGWU ‘S WORDS,THEN THE MAN WAS Indeed a hero and a true compatriot.

  36. Having read the interview, and some other sources which includes: “Why we struck” by Adewale Ademoyega (who is one of the officers that spear-headed the Jan 15, 1966 coup) and other sources i could lay my eyes on, via the internet, i have come to the conclusion that:
    1 the political and judicial system in that era was far from ideal.
    2 the chaos in the government called for discretionary measures.
    I want to say that we (present-day nigerians) can never fully comprehend what really occurred then, the “genuine” motives of all the players involved, and i want to believe that even some of the plotters of the coup did not completely understand the nitty-gritty of their mission,and the need for utmost professionalism and the chain reaction that might follow afterwards if they succeed or fail in the execution of their plans.
    But as they all said, they acted in the best interest of the nation and her unity, i therefore want to suggest that we shouldn’t utterly praise or condemn anyone as only God knows their true intentions and rationale behind their actions. As for me i respect and admire them.
    Finally, for those that have made comments using rather impolite expressions, i want you to consider this quote by Aristotle,”Do not condemn another man’s judgement because it is different from yours, you might both be wrong!!”.

  37. Nzeogwu only succeeded in killing the Nothern civillian governor with some of his officials which does not required much millitary intelligent or force to overide . Lagos operation was very complex and critical for those coupist to overide like Kaduna or Ibadan. Enugu and Benin could not help matters at that point so there is no need to mention them. Nzeogwu went to Kaduna radio station to declare a new phantomed government while Federal territory where still in the hands of the present government just like Gideon Orkar’s coup with IBB government where the rebels tookover the radio house(FRCN) Lagos announcing their new phantorm government plan while they had never got closed to Doddan Barrack ground, Nzeogwu claimed that he felt dissappointed by his colleagues but himself can never do better than what his colleagues did at Lagos if he was there. His voice was heard in the radio station Kaduna which makes him to claimed this heroism, If Nwobosi could had went to Ibadan Radio coporation to announce his own success probably there might be another coup within them.
    Generally, what does Nzeogwu’s coup( as they called it) brought to the society? Does it brought Peace or genocide/civil war? or does it brought love or hate among the tribes? After killing the officials of the first republic government, does their successors ever did better job to the Nation till date? Does that killing ever stop corruption? What about the recent corrupted goverment officials, what punishment or judgement had they faced? So what was the need for all these hero issue just like the way they potrayed Muritalla Mohammed as a hero and the best leader with no single legacy to count on. One does not need to be that old or young enough to reason beyond some complicated stories we heard as we are growing up since every one does not born the same day. Sharing good ideas can contribute and make difference in a society.

  38. Nzeogwu, always my hero.

    1. He also contributed to the backwardness of this country forever. He set up a route for coups in Nigeria, that is why we never had a successful civilian government since then. He has selfish agenda otherwise he could have succeeded.

  39. Nzeogwu was a man of integrity and a selfless compatriot whom for a heightened patriotism refused marriage and children jst to make his country a better place for everybody. Its highly regrettable and unthinkable that no monument (not even from his own state)was erected for his remembrance. But let me assure this present buccaneers of power that eventhough that their naïve and visionless administration doesn’t recognized this fallen hero, the generation to come will venerate him. RIP my Hero

  40. He is the best army of nigeria come anyday,our hero my hero,the true state man of all time

  41. My defunct Biafra. the bones shall rise again.

  42. I perused every possible comments from all learned fellows who have contributed his or her own quota to the issue of a man whom I will outrightly say I RESPECT & ADMIRE.This opinion of mine actually tags along with that of my alma matas propeitor ,The Great Tai Solarin who actually named a road in Mayflower School, Ikenne after Major Kaduna Chukwuma Nzeogwu Road.Max thanks for this opportunity.

    1. What was Nzeogwu trying to accomplish with his actions? Were his goals really achievable given the circumstance that prevailed in Nigeria at the time. Was it the best way to achieve change or could there have been a better way? I am just curious because a lot of you have continued to call him a hero. Was he really a hero?

      1. I do wonder if they could have overthrown the government without killing unarmed civilians and women.

        1. The army should never have been involved in politics in the first place. I do not see how junior officers could have succeeded to start with. I know things were going haywire at the time but the army should have stayed out of it regardless of what idealistic plan they had for the country. I remember how it was that you could lose your life if you provided the wrong answer to the simple question: Which party do you belong to?It was quite a frightening period.Granted these idealistic young men could easily have accomplished their goal(whatever it was) by effecting arrests of the government hierarchy.

          1. …and Nigeria paid the price for these mistakes until 1999…

  43. I’m just reading Reluctant rebel by Lt Fola Oyewole (hard to find book). From his account, no ‘Exclusive interview’ happened that day. there was a gathering by a number of undergrads (numbering 10, with Mr Ejindu in tow). There were various disscussions about the crises, also at no time did Major Nzeogwu discuss anything about the seccession. Lt Oyewole even mentions that Mr Ejindu did not even have a pen and paper throughout the meeting. This ‘interview’ in Lt oyewoles opinion did a great disservice to Major Nzeogwu and propbably precipitated events that led to his early demise. The book to me is a good ‘bystander’ account of the inner workings and logistics of the biafran military set up.

    1. I’ve watched this interview on youtube. Whoever said it didn’t happen lied.

      1. Is quite unfortunate dat dis great hero of ours left witout fulfiln d desires of his fellow country men.look at nija today an tell me if there is anytin reasonable to say or hold on.graduates scattered all over d country lookn 4 jobs almost half of d citizens ar bedeviled by poverty while fews numbers av embezzled all d funds.i wish to be enrolled in d nigeria army to start frm wer nzeogwu finish

  44. Hello Max, I really like your website. I stumbled upon this interview while doing research for a paper on the biafran war. I therefore have one question: How do I properly quote the interview? Where has it originally been published? Thanks,

    Elias

  45. It is unfortunate that what Major Nzeogwu was trying to avert is what we are experiencing today in Nigeria. He was never in need of power all he wanted was that Nigeria should find its root again, though i was not born then, but each time i heard about his braveness i could tell that he indeed has a lion’s heart. Major Nzeogwu was a great man even greater in death.

  46. Here’s Lt. Fola Oyewoles account, I cull it from his book ‘ The Reluctant Rebel’……….

    Sometime in June 1967, I picked up a copy of a magazine, Africa and the World. A journalist had reported an exclusive interview he had with Nzeogwu, ‘Leader of the 15 January coup’. The first of its kind. First I browsed through the article. The second time, I read it exhaustively. Thanks to what he said and what I was told was to be the reaction in official circles, my career seemed to be in serious jeopardy.
    But the article, more than anything else, could be said to have led to Nzeogwu’s early death in action, it is worth saying how it originated.
    It all started in the first few weeks of our release. Six people in a Taunus car arrived at 10 independence layout, where I was living, to ask for Nzeogwu. The Major lived in No. 11 and not 10. However, I knew he did not like meetings except by appointment. So I asked them to wait while I checked. I then ran upstairs from where I made a call to the mess, No. 11, where Nzeogwu lived.
    The call was answered by Tim Onwuatuegwu. I told him what the problem was, and asked him to find out if Nzeogwu wished to meet his ‘crowd’ of visitors. The reply soon came, Nzeogwu would not mind for a change, especially as some of them were undergraduates whom he admired for their radical views.
    I remember taking two of the visitors in my car, the rest of them riding in theirs to No. 11. The visitors were a newly qualified barrister, who I knew as John, another newly qualified barrister, a woman this time from Onitsha, her sister, an undergraduate returned from Ibadan University, a Mr Dennis Ejindu ( who later turned out to be a journalist – he wrote the offending article), another man and a girl.

    We were met on arrival at the mess by Tim who welcomed the visitors into the sitting room where Nzeogwu joined us some minutes later. It was an informal gathering; as time went by other officers looked in and joined the discussion. I remember very well that Nzeogwu sat at one end of the long sitting room and Mr Ejindu at the other, Everybody was expressing views about the crisis, at times talking in groups of four or five, like a cocktail party discussion. The gathering broke off as informally as it begun, and I was one of the last to leave the room. Subsequently, Mr Ejindu cleverly, but unfairly reconstructed the discussion into a ‘Question and answer’ form of an interview, though during the discussion he had not taken any notes. In fact, he had no writing materials with him.
    The most offending part of the article were the views credited to Nzeogwu on the then boiling question of secession. Nzeogwu never made it secret of his anti-secessionist views. Ironically, nobody talk about secession that day, either in favor or against. Mr Ejindu, the journalist wanted a scapegoat and got one in the person of Major Nzeogwu. Later evidence of Stage management came to light. Mr Ejindu was first arrested and detained for some days. Soon after his release, he was frequently seen in the company of some senior army officers who wanted Nzeogwu out of the way.

    1. Thanks for providing this detailed reference. Much appreciated. I actually included the above account in my book Oil, Politics and Violence.

  47. SUDAN TONY GOMPWEL | Reply

    IF NZEOGU IS ALIVE TODAY, AFTER SEEING THE AFTERMAT OF THE COUP, THE WAR, THE GENOCIDE AND THE FATE OF THE NATION WHICH HE MASTERMINDED, WILL HE STILL DO WHAT HE DID, IF HE IS GIVEN THE OPPORTUNITY TO REWRITE THE PAST?

    I LIKE THE HERO IN HIS INSIDE.

  48. Bravery, courage, courageousness, spirit, valor, gut, fearlessness, boldness, gallantry describes the character trait of a Hero or heroism. Without a doubt Nzeogwu was a brave man and anyone with a contrary view is either a liar and have no truth and therefore as corrupt as the corrupt politicians that Nzeogwu wisely decided to eliminated in 1966; just as we also need Nzeogwu’s courage to eliminated the present corrupt Nigerian politicians and public officials.
    Nzeogwu was a hero because he was brave, it is impossible to be called hero if one is not brave but timid, cowardly, and hedonist like Nigerian politicians. The reason Nigeria is the way it is today is because we do not have enough of Nzeogwu. Every successful, developed country anywhere in the world today had an Nzeogwu and not just one Nzeogwu but an immortal one. Nigeria killed its Nzeogwu and will never see progress until it calls back into being Chukwuma Kaduna Nzeogwu.

    Kaduna could not have been a tribal bigot because he was larger than life, he was intellectually advanced, his horizon extends beyond any boundary, and perhaps he was crazy for perfection in the most imperfect, cursed environment and people. He was very much aware of the consequences of his action but he knew that inaction was not an option. He died for a cause and what about you, what would you die for? A life not having anything to die does not worth living. Life is not about how long, how rich, how many wives and children, how much money these things passreth. But rather life is about one’s impact to lives. To me, Kaduna died a brave man which makes him a hero. I am not unmindful that to some he was villain but I prefer to die and be remembered no matter how, than to die like I never lived, and what about you?

  49. Nzeogwu was one of the most gallant,intelligent and untribalistic soldiers Nigerian Army has ever produced. He was a true Nigerian. May his soul rest in peace.Amen.

  50. Apostle p.o.onyemali | Reply

    what a wonderful interview

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